“Idolatry is committed not merely by setting up false gods, but also by setting up false devils; by making men afraid of war or alcohols, or economic law, when they should be afraid of spiritual corruption and cowardice.” – G.K. Chesterton
... it is no surprise that G.K. Chesterton goes on to say that we should be afraid of both spiritual corruption and of cowardice. In the context of what he wrote, spiritual corruption would include calling a fellow believer a heretic or an apostate simply because they disagree with us. Cowardice would be our willingness to assent to evil simply because we are afraid of the consequences of defending the weak and the helpless. But, there is a cautionary tale here.
That a couple dozen men were willing to assent to an evil out of fear of the consequences of defending those who were under attack has ... been discussed here and elsewhere, if a bit cryptically here. He continues ... :
The cautionary tale is that it is all too easy to define courage as being the opposition to anything or anyone that disagrees with us. That is, we set up false devils. That is a very real and present danger. G.K. Chesterton was a Roman Catholic. He was quite accustomed to non-Catholic Christians in England calling him a heretic or dismissing him as someone to whom we should not listen. It was not until 1829 that Roman Catholics regained most of their rights. It took another few more years before the last restrictions were removed. G.K Chesterton was born less than 50 years after the passage of that Act, and would have know many Roman Catholics who remembered the days when their liberty was severely diminished. When he visited America on speaking tours, he would have met many Americans who still would consider him a non-Christian.
Of course now Chesterton is the favorite Papist to quote of American Calvinists!
For those who might consider public critique of the leadership culture of Mars Hill as the enemy's work, this could be a sign of the idol that has been made of Mark Driscoll and Mars Hill. Why? Simple, because if one equates critique of the system with the work of Satan even when the most trenchant criticisms in the last year have come from professing Christians every bit as evangelical as Mars Hill has been then it simply makes no sense to broadbrush the critique as coming from liberal/heathen/progressive people. The most telling indication that Driscoll and Mars Hill had become idols may be the prevalence of defenders of both considering "critics" to be the problem. Driscoll used to say the problem we have is we take ourselves way too seriously and don't take God seriously enough. Paradoxically Mars Hill and Mark Driscoll may be known as idols less for the praise and credit they may get from people who praise them than by the vitriol those people may pour on fellow Christians as somehow being responsible for the death of Mars Hill. Make no mistake, the Board of Advisors and Accountability has the power derived from the Mars Hill bylaws to authorize the voluntary dissolution of the corporation. Nobody could "kill" Mars Hill except the members of the BoAA. Wenatchee The Hatchet didn't and couldn't vote to destroy the corporation known as Mars Hill. People like Matt Rogers did that.